Benning 41, Reach OG 67.
Attendance: 3599 (1517 from Sheffield Wednesday)
Date: 24 July 2018
SUPERB STAGS IMPRESS AGAIN IN WIN OVER SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town put in another hugely encouraging performance against more Championship opposition and deservedly beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at the One Call Stadium this evening. Sheffield Wednesday’s game plan was to keep the ball, knocking it around all evening, but seemed riled in the last 20 minutes and at 2-0 down starting lumping balls forward in a desperate attempt not to be beaten. So riled and frustrated were they that striker Fernando Forestieri started committing some nasty fouls in the final few minutes. After one foul, on Sterling-James, on 89 minutes, there was an incident with Krystian Pearce where Pearce appeared to lose the plot, seemingly incensed by something that was said, and Stags boss David Flitcroft showed good leadership by running on to the pitch to get Pearce off the pitch before he did something he regretted. It’s a shame that the Wednesday manager did not show similar leadership towards Forestieri. Forestieri was booked, and when the game ended just a couple of minutes later, Forestieri punched Stags sub Calum Butcher in the face, sparking a mass brawl and ugly scenes. It was an extraordinary end to a pre-season friendly. The Stags once again put in a superb performance. Wednesday had started the better side in the opening 15 minutes, but the Stags soon got into the game and started pressing Wednesday, with the entire midfield and forward line working hard to win the ball. Such was Mansfield’s superb fitness that they were able to keep up the pressing game for the remaining 75 minutes. Mansfield were close to taking the lead on 29 minutes as Otis Khan put in a great cross from the left and Wednesday’s Atdhe Nuhiu powered a header towards his own goal where keeper Dawson made a wonderful save to keep it out. On 32 minutes a sensational piece of play by CJ Hamilton as he controlled a long ball forward and sprinted into the area past one defender before a covering defender took the ball off him. Mansfield took a deserved lead on 41 minutes. Jacob Mellis slid a lovely ball forward to Otis Khan on the edge of the area, Khan’s shot was blocked by Liam Palmer, to CJ Hamilton who laid off to Mal Benning who fired a great shot into the net from 16 yards off the inside of the right post. Benning at his best. Wednesday should have equalised on 49 minutes when Liam Palmer crossed from the right and Nuhiu hit the bar from 6 yards out. Mansfield doubled the lead on 67 minutes. Alex MacDonald played a great ball out to the right which CJ Hamilton met on the byline, sliding a cross in which somehow went into the net off Adam Reach from a tight angle. A lucky goal but a 2-0 lead which Mansfield certainly deserved. Stags fans in Q block, creating a superb atmosphere, chanted “Championship, you’re having a laugh”. Wednesday were riled and pulled one back on 72 minutes as Reach, who had scored the own goal, fired in a quality finish from 18 yards. It finished 2-1 as Mansfield defended well to keep a desperate Wednesday side at bay, and then it all kicked off at the end of the game. Plenty of encouraging performances throughout the Stags side with everyone playing well, including Tyler Walker who put in easily his best performance so far. The Stags have one more pre-season friendly left, at home to Rotherham on Saturday before the league starts on Saturday-week.
Mansfield again employed a 3-5-2 formation, as they have in every pre-season friendly so far. There was one change to the starting XI against Sheffield United, with Alex MacDonald replacing Craig Davies. Davies missed out, with manager Flitcroft saying afterwards that he had been training on the hard training ground. It was unclear if he has an injury but Flitcroft said we should have him for next week (whether that means Saturday against Rotherham, or back to training on Monday was unclear).
The team that started today was:
Hayden White, Matt Preston (new signing from Swindon), Krystian Pearce;
CJ Hamilton, Jacob Mellis, Neal Bishop (new signing from Scunthorpe), Alex MacDonald, Mal Benning;
Otis Khan (new signing from Yeovil), Tyler Walker (season loan from Forest).
Khan moved from midfield to play alongside Walker up front. Left-footed CJ Hamilton was once again at right-wing back.
The players missing from the squad tonight (in addition to Craig Davies) were Rose (has been injured, and will play in a behind closed doors match at Hull tomorrow morning), Mirfin (out until Christmas), Diamond (also injured), and Anderson (who was injured in Portugal and played a couple of games with the U21 side this week just to get minutes). Also missing was trialist Nathan Cameron who has had a scan on his injury but the results are not yet clear.
Sheffield Wednesday had Matt Penney on the bench but he did not come on. He was on loan at Mansfield last season.
Wednesday started the better side in the opening minutes.
On 5 minutes Hayden White made a good challenge.
On 6 minutes, Benning shanked an attempted clearance up in the air, and Liam Palmer in turn shanked an attempted shot straight to Logan. Then on 8 minutes, Tyler Walker played a very loose ball, Liam Palmer pushed forward, crossed in to the middle where Bishop seemed to tread on the ball allowing Atdhe Nuhiu a shot at goal but he sent a poor effort wide from the edge of the area. An untidy start from Mansfield.
Better from Mansfield on 10 minutes, Khan did well to win the ball, he found Mellis who pushed forward and was brought down 24 yards from goal. Khan took the resulting free kick but fired well over the bar, a disappointing effort.
The Stags now got into the game and started pressing Wednesday, with the entire midfield and forward line working hard to win the ball or force an error. On 15 minutes, good play on the left as Khan and Benning pressed Wednesday with Benning winning the ball.
On 17 minutes, Walker did well to win a free kick, 30 yards out to the right of centre. Benning sent the free kick into the middle, Preston knocked the ball up in the air, but the keeper claimed. Two minutes later, Bishop bobbled a shot wide from 25 yards after Van Aken’s clearance fell straight to him. Straight to the other end, and Pearce left a back header to Logan short, Forestieri got on the end of it but couldn’t get in a shot and went down in a heap. A free kick was given to Mansfield despite Forestieri’s claims for a penalty.
On 20 minutes, Mellis played a great ball over a defender to the right where Hamilton met it on the volley but could only send a difficult chance wide. Wonderful vision from Mellis.
On 23 minutes, Preston made a great block on Nuhiu’s shot. A minute later a good move from the Stags involving Walker, who was having a much improved game. Good play also from Bishop who was doing well.
On 28 minutes, a good ball from MacDonald to Hamilton who controlled brilliantly on his chest and got a shot in, but it was blocked by Morgan Fox.
Mansfield were close to taking the lead on 29 minutes as Otis Khan put in a great cross from the left and Atdhe Nuhiu powered a header towards his own goal where keeper Dawson made a wonderful save to keep it out. The Stags followed that with a couple of corners in a great passage of play from them.
Walker did very well to win a header on 30 minutes.
On 32 minutes a sensational piece of play by CJ Hamilton as he controlled a long ball forward and sprinted into the area past one defender before a covering defender took the ball off him. That was scintillating.
Two minutes later a great challenge by Preston on the edge of the area, the ball came out to Sam Hutchinson who fired over the bar from 30 yards. Then on 38 minutes, Bannon played forward to Nuhiu, but White put in a superb challenge as he was about to pull the trigger.
Mansfield took a deserved lead on 41 minutes. Jacob Mellis slid a lovely ball forward to Otis Khan on the edge of the area, Khan’s shot was blocked by Liam Palmer, to CJ Hamilton who laid off to Mal Benning who fired a great shot into the net from 16 yards off the inside of the right post. Benning at his best.
On 43 minutes, Bannon chipped the ball forward, Nuhiu went down in the area but it looked a clear dive and the referee gave a goal kick.
Logan nearly gifted the ball to a Wednesday player on 45 minutes. He’s got to be careful with that, he did it against Sheffield United on Saturday.
A great tackle from Bishop on the stroke of half time epitomised a great first half performance from Mansfield. The team came off to a standing ovation. The whole team was playing really well, with great tackling, superb pressing, and some invention going forward from Mellis and MacDonald, Hamilton showed wonderful skills on the right, while Walker was having his best game for the club.
Half time 1-0
On 47 minutes, a marauding run from White, to Walker who got into the area on the right, and his low show was across the keeper and wide of the left post.
The Stags looked super-fit, pressing Wednesday and causing them problems.
Wednesday should have equalised on 49 minutes when Liam Palmer crossed from the right and Nuhiu hit the bar from 6 yards out. It was a good move and Nuhiu should have scored.
On 52 minutes, Forestieri pushed forward but White put in a great challenge and set off on another marauding run before he was eventually crowded out. Good play between Mellis and MacDonald on 56 minutes nearly created something but not quite.
Preston limped off on 56 minutes. He had tweaked something in his back with a great challenge in the first half. On came Lewis Gibbens.
On 57 minutes, Nuhiu sent a tame shot from 20 yards straight at Logan.
More great invention from Mellis on 60 minutes as he chipped a ball forward for Walker , but it was just over Walker.
A great tackle by Pearce on Forestieri on 66 minutes.
Mansfield doubled the lead on 67 minutes. MacDonald played a great ball out to the right which CJ Hamilton met on the byline, sliding a cross in which somehow went into the net off Adam Reach from a tight angle. A lucky goal but a 2-0 lead which Mansfield certainly deserved. Hamilton had covered a lot of ground to get to the byline and perhaps deserved the luck. Stags fans in Q block, creating a superb atmosphere, chanted “Championship, you’re having a laugh”.
Wednesday had been playing sidewise balls all evening. Now they started launching balls forward.
Wednesday were certainly riled and pulled one back on 72 minutes as Reach, who had scored the own goal, fired in a quality finish from 18 yards. It hit a Stags player but still went in.
Hayden White went off injured on 75 minutes. He had taken a whack to the nose but will be fine. White had had an outstanding game. Digby replaced him in central defence.
On 79 minutes, Forestieri went down in the area under a challenge from Hamilton. The referee waved away appeals for a penalty, correctly.
Made made a triple change on 80 minutes. Jordan Graham replaced Khan, Sterling-James replaced Mellis, Butcher replaced MacDonald.
Hamilton made a great run on 82 minutes but his ball was just ahead of Walker.
Wednesday were desperately trying to get an equaliser. A great header away from Digby on 83 minutes.
On 86 minutes, Jordan Graham found Walker who got to the edge of the area, onto his left foot but scuffed a shot wide of the right post.
Nice play by Gibbens a minute later pushing forward on the left and winning a throw-in.
A double chance for the Stags on 88 minutes. Walker got an effort on target, well saved by the keeper, then Benning’s shot with his instep curled just wide of the right post on the follow-up.
On 89 minutes, Forestieri hacked down Sterling-James. Something seemed to be said by Forestieri to Pearce. Pearce lost the plot, clearly incensed . Stags boss David Flitcroft showed good leadership by running on to the pitch to get Pearce off the pitch before he did something he regretted. It’s a shame that the Wednesday manager did not show similar leadership towards Forestieri. Forestieri was booked in the aftermath, as was Bishop. Mansfield hastily got Atkinson on to replace Pearce, who was still visibly furious.
When the game ended just a couple of minutes later, Forestieri punched Stags sub Calum Butcher in the face, sparking a mass brawl and ugly scenes. Butcher had blood on his face. It was an extraordinary end to a pre-season friendly.
After the game, Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay said he did not see what the reason was for the “explosion” as he called it, and that the players were “too emotional” for him to discuss it with them now, so he would talk to them on Wednesday morning.
All very encouraging for Mansfield anyway with plenty of fine performances throughout the side. The final pre-season friendly is against Rotherham on Saturday.
Report by: Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Logan - Only had routine saves to make. Nearly gifted the ball to a Wednesday player at the end of the first half. He’s got to be careful with that, he did it against Sheffield United on Saturday.
White - Outstanding game in central defence with several superb challenges and a couple of marauding runs.
Preston - Limped off, he had tweaked something in his back with a great challenge in the first half. Made several great challenges. Has been a super summer signing.
Pearce - One great tackle on Forestieri. Lost the plot in the closing stages seemingly incensed by something that was said by Forestieri, and sensibly hauled straight off by Flitcroft before he did something he regretted.
Hamilton - Looking really good at right wing-back. Good lay-off to Benning for the first goal. Did well to get in a cross for the lucky second goal, having covered a lot of ground. Some wonderful skills and control even when at full pace.
Mellis - Some great inventive play pushing forward, including a super ball in the build up to the first goal.
Bishop - Another good game. Great ratting and tackling in midfield.
MacDonald - Lovely ball out to Hamilton for the second goal and another in the first half. Fine game.
Benning - The first goal was Benning at his best, a lovely crisp shot. Had another good shot just wide in the second half. Very good game on the left.
Khan - Played in a more advanced role than previous games, in the absence of Davies. His shot was blocked in the build up to the first goal, when he did well to find space on the edge of the area. A couple of good crosses. Disappointing free kick over the bar.
Walker - Easily his best performance so far for Mansfield, after a loose ball early in the game. Won some good headers. Forced a good save late on.
Sub Line Up:
Gibbens (for Preston, 56 minutes) - The youngster continues to impress in central defence. Stood up well as Wednesday desperately searched for an equaliser.
Digby (for White, 75 minutes) - One good header away. Has done well in central defence in pre-season. His versatility means that if he does stay with the club, he will be a useful player to have in the squad.
Graham (for Khan, 80 minutes) -
Sterling-James (for Mellis, 80 minutes) -
Butcher (for MacDonald, 80 minutes) -
Atkinson (for Pearce, 89 minutes) -
Subs not used: Olejnik, Angol, Nyle Blake.
Opposition Line Up:
(3-5-2): Dawson; Van Aken, Lees, Fox; Palmer, Bannan, Pelupessy, Hutchinson, Reach; Nuhiu, Forestieri. Subs not used: Wallis, Jack Lee, Hunt, Matt Penney, Fraser Preston, Kirby, Stobbs.